My Top 3 Supernatural Horror Movies
In case you missed my last two posts, I’ve dedicated each week of October to my favorite movies in each horror subgenre, and I can’t believe we’re already three weeks in! This month is flying by, and as much as I’m looking forward to Halloween, I don’t want October to end.
This week, I’m covering the supernatural horror subgenre. This category seems to have increased in popularity in more recent years, with franchises like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Conjuring putting out prequels and sequels like hotcakes to keep their fans satiated.
Supernatural films are always hit or miss for me- I either believe them too much or not at all, and either way I can’t enjoy it. I know not everyone does, but I believe in certain elements of the supernatural, and I ain’t tryin’ to bring no demons into my house…
But while I’m not the biggest fan of the supernatural subgenre, I do have a few favorites…
Supernatural Movie #3:
Ghost Ship (2002)
Apparently, this movie was not received well by critics and still ranks really, really badly. But, you know what, I don’t care. After seeing Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events in 2004 (I was a huge fan of the books growing up) I developed a bit of a girl crush on Emily Browning. So, sometime later I happened upon a rental copy of Ghost Ship in my local Hollywood Video store and noticed she was in it, so I rented it.
The opening scene of Ghost Ship is one of the goriest (and honestly scariest) scenes I had seen at that time, and still makes me leery around wire ropes. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I stuck it out for Emily Browning and wasn’t really disappointed.
The general premise is dark but cool, and even though the story isn’t excellently written or perfectly executed, it’s a pretty unique film and it keeps you interested. Both the opening scene and the big reveal are shocking and memorable, and while it’s not my most favorite supernatural horror film, it definitely stays in my top three and I’ve yet to find something to knock it out of the #3 spot.
Supernatural Movie #2:
Poltergeist is one of those movies that I heard a lot about when I was growing up but I never got around to seeing it until adulthood. As an adult in the 21st century, with hundreds of truly terrifying horror movies at ones disposal, Poltergeist definitely isn’t scary. And compared to the movies of today, it’s pretty cheesy. But it’s still so good.
It obviously had some big names involved, with Steven Spielberg as a writer and Tobe Hooper directing. And it’s truly well written, giving a delicate, intimate look at this family’s everyday life and making the events that happen seem more… credible.
One of my favorite parts of the movie is how, upon discovery of the moving chairs in the kitchen area, Mrs. Freeling is so quick to embrace it and play with it. She’s startled at first, sure, but only for maybe a second. By the time her husband has come home from work, she’s instigated and tested it so many times that she’s been able to mark out paths. Her bravery beguiles me.
And no matter how many times I watch this movie, I will always laugh at this exchange:
I’m going in after her.
She won’t come to you. Let me go.
You’ve never done this before.
Neither have you.
(after a pause)
You’re right. You go.
Supernatural Movie #1:
The Conjuring (2013)
While I enjoy the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Conjuring franchises nearly equally (I’m not obsessed and I wouldn’t say I love them, but I like them and I appreciate each one for what they are), the first Conjuring film is (in my opinion) the best, no contest.
Of the three franchises, the Conjuring universe is my favorite for one simple reason: Vera Farmiga.
I have a huge crush on Vera and think she is incredible in the horror genre, so the Conjuring universe (especially the parts of it that she occupies) is my favorite by default.
But the first Conjuring film brought all my paranormal fears to life, scared the living daylights out of me, and is the reason I keep my feet tucked securely beneath the covers when I sleep. Doors opening and closing ‘on their own’, spooky closets/wardrobes, crawl spaces, cold patches, unexplainable bruises… I hate it all. This film has all of it, and it does it all so well.
Interestingly, it seems that “the best horror movies of the 21st century” list makers either acknowledge the film for the greatness it is and put it in first or second place, or they keep the film off their list altogether and choose films that are infinitely less effective at producing genuine, lasting fear.
I would dare to say that cinematically this is one of the best horror films of this century and one of the only films that has genuinely frightened me. And, again, it has Vera Farmiga. So, yeah.
Next week, I’ll be covering the psychological subgenre! If you have a favorite supernatural horror film, or if you think you can guess my three favorite psychological horrors, tweet me!
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